Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Student editors

The small novel, The Boat Builder's Secret, is now in the hands of a 7th grade class and a 9th grade class. I was pleasantly surprised by their reactions to being asked to edit my story. They were rather shocked that an adult writer would want their opinion and were quite pleased to be the only classes chosen for the project. One freshman young man asked if he could say it "sucked?" I told him he surely could, but then he had to tell me in detail why it sucked! Everyone laughed and we were off to a great start. As I was finishing up my ideas, I looked around and they were already reading, so I stopped talking and handed the class back to the teacher. It will be quite interesting to see the first comment sheets.

I have started "teaching" more writing in the second grade class. It is amazing what they can do if given some confidence building and a little push. This week we worked on using "juicy" words instead of "blah" words in our writing. They amazed us when they began using words like agitated and disappointed to decribe how a certain situation would make them feel. We were all so proud of their writing at the end of the lesson.

As the weather turns cooler, my writing muse becomes more active. I am being called by a certain dragon to come back to work on his story and the number 10 is whining about having his own book. So on go the smart wool socks, turtlenecks and fleece and may the writing begin!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Once a teacher ...

Despite being no longer employed as a teacher, I find myself back in schools more and more. I am now in year three of second grade and loving it. I continue to work one day a week with math and the other day with writing. I was so impressed yesterday with how hard the students worked writing poems. Imagine not only trying to decide what you want to say, but not being able to spell many of the words you want to write! Their observations are quite insightful and imaginative, but ,oh, the patience it takes to help them through the frustration of trying to get it down on paper. After they were finished writing, we had a poetry reading and we finger snapped our applause.

Today I am meeting with the first of three teachers who have graciously agreed to work on a student editing project with me. I finished writing a short middle grade novel called The Boat Builder's Secret. Three classes - grades 5, 7 and 9 - are going to be my editors. I am hoping for honest feedback from the target audience to use as I begin rewrites. I am excited and a bit anxious about the project, but hope it will be as useful to the teachers and students as it will be for me. I will post updates as we work through the project.

My new brochure for giving an author visit to a single classroom to celebrate a child's birthday is now available. If you would like one, please email me and I will send one your way.

This Sunday I hope educators in Maine will join me at the Barnes and Noble in Augusta between 1pm and 3pm. As I mentioned last time, this store is a treasure chest of materials for educators and home schoolers. Come take advantage of their Educator's discounts and meet and greet with three authors. Hope to see you there!